Hedland's latest batch of potential young army recruits will be heading to Karratha next month to take a shot at joining the Australian Army Reserves.
Remote Locality Aptitude Testing (RLAT) will be held at the Pilbara Regiment’s Taylor Barracks from September 19-22, with about seven candidates from Hedland expected to make the trip.
Pilbara Regiment One Squadron commanding officer Major Anthony Mew said the beauty of the RLAT was that the test came to the Pilbara, instead of flying candidates down to Perth.
“Assuming everything goes fine with the test, they’re enlisted at the end of the training … they go down there as a civilian and come back as a solider,” he said.
“We bring the doctors, the psychologists, the education officers and a few others up from Perth and run the candidates through the hoops, to make sure they’re suitable for the army.”
Once candidates pass the testing, they are sent to either the Army Recruit Training Centre in Kapooka, NSW, or receive training onsite for the Regional Force Surveillance List.
Training at Kapooka provides general army entry for the candidates, while the RFSL training is specific to the northern surveillance units – the Pilbara Regiment, NORFORCE and the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment.
Sean Hunter is one of the candidates set to try out the RLAT and said he couldn’t wait for the opportunity.
The 21-year-old moved to Hedland from Mount Gambier, South Australia, in April as part of an internal transfer with airconditioning company Haden Engineering.
“I was sitting on the fence back home on whether I’d join or not – I’ve got a lot of family history with the armed forces, with my great-grandfather in the army, grandad in the navy and an aunty in the reserves,” Mr Hunter said.
“When I came up here a workmate said I should come down and have a look, which I did, and it seems great so far.”